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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

 10:28 AM 

Walker campaign manager: Not worried about Bush financial advantage, says guv off to strong start

Jeb Bush's $114 million in presidential fundraising dwarfs the $32 million Scott Walker and groups affiliated with him have pulled in, but the guv's national campaign manager said Tuesday the gap is far from intimidating.

Rick Wiley, speaking to a WisPolitics.com luncheon at the Madison Club, said Walker is off to a strong start after barely more than a week into his official presidential campaign.

"This is just the first report," Wiley said. "I mean, we have six more months this year and another three, but, yeah, we hit our goal in the first six months."

Anyway, Wiley told the crowd, it's no surprise Bush has connections through his dad and brother that give him a distinct fundraising advantage.

"And in terms of everyone else and their money, again, there's nothing we can do about that, so we're not really focused on that," Wiley said. "Bush has a lot of money, everyone knows that."

Still, he said, a presidential race depends a lot on raising money, and Walker's campaign will continue to "go where the money is." That approach, though, has to be balanced with hitting the early caucus and primary states, said Wiley, who was the executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, political director for the Republican National Committee and also worked on Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.

"You don't raise a lot of money in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina," he said. "You can raise a little in Nevada, but Nevada is more the bigger checks, not the $2,700 checks. That's a big check, don't get me wrong, but it's not a million-dollar check."

Wiley's optimism over his boss' campaign fundraising carried over to where Walker stands in recent national polls. A Washington Post/ABC News poll of Republicans, released Monday, showed Donald Trump in the lead at 24 percent, Walker next at 13 percent and Bush in third at 12 percent.

Wiley said the national polls don't matter as much as the individual races in the states. And Trump, he said, is a household name that gives him an edge when people just are looking for someone they recognize.

"These national polls are purely name ID," Wiley said, "and the fact that Scott Walker, a governor from Wisconsin, is polling as high as he is nationally, I think, bodes well for us."
-- By Chris Thompson

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